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Recent blog posts

How Can I Protect Myself From Uninsured Drivers?Any driver knows that he or she assumes certain risks by getting behind the wheel. A driver with a history of safe driving often believes those risks to be fairly well minimized. After an accident, however, even the best drivers may find themselves financially impacted by the actions of others, especially if those others are underinsured or uninsured drivers.

Uninsured Drivers

There are an estimated 32 million vehicle owners in the U.S. currently without auto insurance. This means that nearly 13 percent of drivers on the road have no protection in the event of an accident, and in some states, the number is closer to 25 percent. Industry estimates suggest that more than $2 billion is paid annually on uninsured driver claims, not including fatalities or claims of permanent disability.

Insurance industry experts recognize that uninsured drivers usually struggle to afford the cost of insurance premiums. Many drivers who are able to maintain coverage often buy only the minimum coverage required in their states, which, in many cases, is insufficient for serious accidents. Consumer Reports found that the average cost of medical care for a “non-incapacitating injury” after an auto accident was $23,400, higher than the minimum bodily injury requirement in 14 states.

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McHenry County family lawyerWhen a couple gets married, it is not at all uncommon for a spouse to take her partner’s last name as a symbol of their union. Some partners choose to hyphenate their surnames so as to keep their own identity while adding their spouse’s name to theirs. When a marriage comes to an end, it is relatively easy—and usually part of the standard divorce paperwork—for a spouse who changed her name to change it back during the proceedings. But, what about the children of a divorcing couple? It turns out that changing the name of a minor child in Illinois may be more complicated than most people realize.

What Does the Law Say?

Most legal details surrounding marriage and divorce are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), but name changes are typically made in accordance with the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5). The statute provides that changing the name of a minor child will only be approved if the court finds “by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the child.” A separate provision in the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) allows for a child’s name to be changed if both parents agree, though this law is typically utilized in cases of unmarried parents or when parentage is in question.

Considerations of the Court

According to the law, when considering a name change for a minor child, the court is required to take into account all of the relevant factors of the case, including:

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McHenry County criminal defense lawyerPolice interactions can make many people incredibly nervous – even if they have done nothing wrong. This may be a result of the many instances of police brutality that can be seen on the news or for more personal reasons. However, interacting with the police does not have to be a stressful ordeal. If you are ever stopped by police, it is important that you treat the officers with respect while simultaneously protecting your own rights. You should know how to safely interact with police and what to do if you have been arrested and accused of a crime.  

Do Not Give Police Officers a Reason to Be on the Defensive  

Police officers risk their lives every day in the course of their duties. Many officers have had co-workers or friends who have been injured or even killed while performing routine responsibilities such as traffic stops. One way you can make your police interaction less stressful for all parties involved is by following certain procedures designed to keep you and the officer safe. If you are pulled over by police, make sure you do the following: 

  • Keep your hands where officers can see them and do not make sudden or unexpected movements.

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Crystal Lake personal injury lawyerAlthough all motorists have a legal duty to drive in a safe manner, truck drivers have an even greater responsibility on the road. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer combination can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. At this size, a truck can cause devastating damage. If you or a loved one have been involved in a truck accident, you may have considerable medical bills and other costs caused by the accident. You may also be wondering who is at fault for the damages you suffered.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident Involving a Commercial Truck

Truck accident liability may lie with a number of different parties depending on the circumstances of the accident, including the following:

  • Truck Driver or Trucking Company: Sometimes, fault lies with the truck driver himself or herself. If a truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, violating traffic laws, or was otherwise driving in a negligent or reckless manner, the driver or the trucking company he or she works for may be liable for damages.

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Can I Still Prove Paternity in Illinois If My Child’s Father is Deceased?Legally recognizing your child’s father, in a process known as establishing paternity, is important for a number of reasons. Your child is entitled to know their biological father, have a relationship with him, and know his family history. Your child is also subject to financial benefits from their biological father, such as social security benefits, health and life insurance coverage, veteran’s benefits, and any inheritances. Proving paternity is not a difficult process if all parties cooperate. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) is a form that both parents complete to establish who the child’s father is when the parents are not married. If the parties do not cooperate, you can turn to court orders for DNA testing to prove who the child’s father really is. However, for alleged fathers who recently passed away, the process can become slightly more complex.

DNA Testing

With modern technology, it is possible for you to determine your child’s father even after his passing. It is still relevant to make this legal determination for your child’s knowledge and for any financial legacy that your child may be subject to. When proving paternity using DNA testing, the child, mother, and possible biological father will all submit to DNA sampling, often through a cheek swab or blood test. Since the child is half made up of the mother’s genes, the alleged father’s genes must match up with the other half. This is a quick and definitive test that a medical professional can perform and send to the court for evidence.

You may think that since your child’s alleged father passed away, all attempts at definitively knowing his father are gone. Luckily, DNA testing can be performed on the man’s immediate family members and be used to make this determination. Since men have XY chromosomes, and women have XX chromosomes, one can test the males of the alleged father’s family to see if the Y chromosome matches your child’s Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is passed, unchanged, down the male line, and is different once the male lineage is broken. In other words, if you have a son, he will have the same Y chromosome as his father’s father and brothers. For female children, the testing would be the same, but the alleged father’s female family members would be submitted to these tests.

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